News / Africa

    Nigeria's New Cabinet Tasked With Aggressive Agenda

    Nigeria's new cabinet ministers take the oath of office in Abuja on 06 Apr 2010
    Nigeria's new cabinet ministers take the oath of office in Abuja on 06 Apr 2010

    Goodluck Jonathan is only an acting president, but by naming a new Cabinet he has made clear he will not simply serve out the last year of President Umaru Yar'Adua's term.

    This is now Mr. Jonathan's government, until the ailing president returns to power or voters choose a new leader next year.

    Mr. Jonathan told his new ministers that he is expecting "bold steps" to improve Nigeria's infrastructure, fight corruption, and secure the gains of an amnesty for Niger Delta militants.

    "You must hit the ground running," said Jonathan.  "Time is of fundamental essence and no distraction in our mission will be tolerated.  This is a patriotic call to service and the self must therefore take a back-seat.  This rare privilege must not be abused," he said.

    The new Cabinet includes a new finance minister, a new foreign minister and Nigeria's first female oil minister as well as several hold-overs from the previous Cabinet, including the former information minister.

    Nigeria's new finance minister is former Goldman Sachs managing director Olusegun Aganga.  He will brief the acting president every two weeks on efforts to speed Nigeria's development, which Mr. Jonathan says is the most important task in the life of the nation.

    Nigerian Bar Association General Secretary Ibrahim Mark says Aganga's experience will help shake-up the Finance Ministry.

    "The man is a success in the private sector.  We need such people.  He will not be bogged down with the civil service structure," he said.

    In a speech to the Nigerian community in London last year, Aganga spoke of how his generation lost the commitment of those who fought for independence.

    "As Nigerians, you must understand that we are all part of that problem," said Aganga.  "And it is important for you and I to step out and be part of the solution and take responsibility to drive the much needed transformation our country and our continent needs today," he added.

    In Africa's largest oil-producer, Aganga said it is not a question of resources but rather how those resources are used.

    "The assets are there, and all we need is good managers to manage those assets and generate consistent, strong and positive returns," he said.

    Aganga said this generation of Nigerian leaders must show they can make a difference.

    "It is important that we make the move from being successful to being significant.  It is important that we make the move from blaming the system to actually taking responsibility," he said.

    Acting President Jonathan expects his new finance minister to oversee a much-delayed federal budget and push ahead with the end to consumer fuel subsidies.  He has also committed himself to comprehensive electoral reforms before next year's vote.

    Bar Association Secretary General Mark says the biggest challenge is the make up of the electoral commission.

    The Obama administration says Nigeria's elections chief should be replaced.

    U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson says Washington believes Independent National Election Commission chairman Maurice Iwu had proven himself inadequate in overseeing a 2007 vote that Carson says was "deeply flawed."  He told reporters that if Nigeria is to improve its elections "it probably needs to consider improving the level of management at the top."

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora